The U.S. Centers for Disease Control just released a rather morbid report about the causes of death in all 50 states. The most common cause of death across the entire country is cancer or heart disease. This particular report just highlights those causes that are particularly common in a given state relative to its frequency in other states. That is to say, there may be only 100 deaths from a particular cause in a particular state but if the state where it is next in commonality only has 50 deaths from that cause than that would be one of the causes of death that this chart put together by the CDC would identify for that state.
Some of the results are not all that surprising to Susan McGalla. For one example, black lung is a disproportionately higher cause of death in coal mining states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Some causes are somewhat surprising. For instance, in Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico, deaths due to legal intervention are disproportionately higher than in other states. In other words, a higher percentage of people in those states die from run-ins with the law. Texans seem to have a greater chance than any other Americans of dying from tuberculosis, and why that would be is anybodies guess. That is why this information is valuable. By seeing where certain unusual deaths are most prevalent, it may put a spotlight on certain health care needs in certain parts of the country.